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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just finished an elevated box blind for deer hunting this year and put it out back in my field. If someone were to trespass, climb up and fall and hurt themselves would I be liable? Also do any of you have signs on your blinds like no trespassing? What about more interesting signs? Maybe something more persuasive that you mean business? I was considering no trespassing signs on the base and then maybe an additional sign inside that told the trespasser to leave and respect my stuff or hint that they should leave as they have probably walked by a game camera and I will know who they are? I seem to always have at least one knucklehead per year that I have to have a conversation with about my property. Who knows how much I am not seeing. I don't think locking the blind is wise as they will get in if they want to anyway. I won't be keeping anything of value in it, but just would like to avoid other slobs from stinking up the place and let them know I mean business. Any suggestions?


 

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I just finished an elevated box blind for deer hunting this year and put it out back in my field. If someone were to trespass, climb up and fall and hurt themselves would I be liable? Also do any of you have signs on your blinds like no trespassing? What about more interesting signs? Maybe something more persuasive that you mean business? I was considering no trespassing signs on the base and then maybe an additional sign inside that told the trespasser to leave and respect my stuff or hint that they should leave as they have probably walked by a game camera and I will know who they are? I seem to always have at least one knucklehead per year that I have to have a conversation with about my property. Who knows how much I am not seeing. I don't think locking the blind is wise as they will get in if they want to anyway. I won't be keeping anything of value in it, but just would like to avoid other slobs from stinking up the place and let them know I mean business. Any suggestions?



Interesting question. One would think no way in hell you could be responsible. But who knows.....I Tend to believe that if a guy hires a good enough lawyer they can try to pin anything as your fault. At the very least they could make you spend money on a lawyer and defend yourself. If you have decent liability coverage you should be ok.

I have a vacant lot on a lake up north I am rarely at. I inquired about insurance. My company covers 300k liability on my homeowners and that covers any liability on vacant land I own. If I were to build a garage or permanent structure on that land I need to take out a seperate policy. Check with your agent and see what they say.
 

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I used to have portable blinds set up on private property that I would leave out during the course of the season. After one grew legs, I made up a waterproof placard which hung on the outside of the pop-up blind stating that the property was being watched by hidden camera. I never lost another one after that.
I had hang-on stands that until this week had been attached to the trees and left for a number of years. I took them down because they were so old the attaching straps were starting to rot. I didn't want somebody sneaking on the property to hunt and falling out of the tree due to the dangerous conditions and then being sued.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I used to have portable blinds set up on private property that I would leave out during the course of the season. After one grew legs, I made up a waterproof placard which hung on the outside of the pop-up blind stating that the property was being watched by hidden camera. I never lost another one after that.
I had hang-on stands that until this week had been attached to the trees and left for a number of years. I took them down because they were so old the attaching straps were starting to rot. I didn't want somebody sneaking on the property to hunt and falling out of the tree due to the dangerous conditions and then being sued.
I have a tree stand like that right now too and I need to remove it, but I still wonder if I a liable if someone gets hurt while trespassing. Nice to hear the camera idea seems to work.

DirtySteve,

I think you are right. I do believe I recall having that land covered by the house policy. I will have to double check that . Thanks.
 

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You can be sued for anything but that doesn't mean they will collect. We had action brought against us by someone who was given written permission. He fell while nailing up a stand which was against our rules. The suit was thrown out but not without the family incurring legal costs. Make sure you have umbrella insurance on your home owners policy.

Lock your blind and make them work to get in it. In that case it is no longer recreational trespass it is criminal act if you catch them. Talking to trespassers is a waste of time, prosecute. The word will get out.
 
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Michigan recently passed a law codifying liability for injuries to trespassers. See: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-554-583

Basically, you're generally not liable for injury to adult trespassers. However, you may be held liable if you intentionally injure a trespasser, or you are aware that a trespasser is present or likely to be present and you fail to exercise ordinary care. With regard to child trespassers, the statute basically codifies the prior common law doctrine of "attractive nuisance" - you can be held liable for injury to a child if something dangerous on your property is likely to attract children.

If you know of a dangerous condition on your land, such as a tree stand with a rotting strap, it is in your best interest to remedy the situation. If a trespasser gets hurt as a result of the dangerous condition, they will most likely sue you. Since you've indicated that you've had problems with trespassers in the past, your likelihood of being found liable would be increased.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Michigan recently passed a law codifying liability for injuries to trespassers. See: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-554-583

Basically, you're generally not liable for injury to adult trespassers. However, you may be held liable if you intentionally injure a trespasser, or you are aware that a trespasser is present or likely to be present and you fail to exercise ordinary care. With regard to child trespassers, the statute basically codifies the prior common law doctrine of "attractive nuisance" - you can be held liable for injury to a child if something dangerous on your property is likely to attract children.

If you know of a dangerous condition on your land, such as a tree stand with a rotting strap, it is in your best interest to remedy the situation. If a trespasser gets hurt as a result of the dangerous condition, they will most likely sue you. Since you've indicated that you've had problems with trespassers in the past, your likelihood of being found liable would be increased.
Good post, thanks. I wasn't going to lock it, but I like the stand I could make if I had to go to court and could say they had to break in to gain entry. Also 2 years ago I had the "child trespasser". Kid from the property behind mine walking his dog. I knew the dog had been back there because I would often track it to the entry point wondering if it was pet dog or coyote. I never knew he was back there until the last day of gun season that year. I did talk to him and told him to stay off and explained the dangers of doing that during deer hunting seasons. I've not seen him since, but you never know and I sure could see that shack being an attractive to a young kid wanting to check it out.

I am just trying to minimize my likelihood of being sued. Any other stories or advice?
 

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As an insurance agent I would definitely say check with your current agent and review your situation as far as if you hunt at your house, up at a cabin or vacant land. They will be able to let you know how you are currently covered. Liability insurance is inexpensive so either raise your current limits or look into an umbrella policy. People will try to sue you for anything they can and it only takes one slime ball screwing around on your property to take everything away from you.
 

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You can buy 1,000,000 worth of umbrella coverage for tens of dollars a month.

It is one of the cheapest buys in the insurance industry. For someone who has any kind of a net worth it is worth it to take the target off you and have an insurance company's expert lawyers fight them.
 

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I had a prof. who was a lawyer in school and I asked him a lot of questions in regards to trespassing, easements, blah blah blah.

He made it clear that you are only liable in the case of a trespasser if you are aware of the trespassing and then he gets hurt. If you are unaware that you have people on your land without permission and they were to get hurt, you are not civilly liable. That that for what it's worth.
 
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